New forwards coach Ceri Jones believes he will be building on strong foundations at Newport Gwent Dragons as he aims to share his expertise from a long and successful career.
Jones was appointed at Rodney Parade in June and had been coaching at Worcester after ending a player career in 2014 that had earned him two Wales caps and icon status at English club Harlequins.
But the former loosehead started his club career in Newport and is eager to help cultivate an area that has traditionally been a regional strength.
The Dragons finished the 2015/16 Guinness PRO12 season some way behind the mid-table pack in tenth – and according to Jones small improvements in the pack will make a big difference in the points column.
“Gwent rugby has always been known for having good packs and from my time at Newport we had the likes of Ian Gough, Simon Raiwalui, Rod Snow, Adrian Garvey, all high quality forwards,” Jones told the South Wales Argus.
“I am building from strong foundations because Kingsley (Jones, head coach who was in charge of the pack) has done a really good job.
“I want to elevate that now and my job is to bring the young talent through and help push us up the league.
“We’ve got to realise where we are at the moment, we have a lot to do but the harder we work, the luckier we will get.
“There are loads of players coming through and we just need to kick on after losing a quite few games by a handful of points last season.”
The Dragons have bolstered their forwards stocks substantially with the arrival of front-rows Sam Hobbs, Craig Mitchell, Tom Davies and Darran Harris.
And Jones is also excited about the youngsters he believes are on the verge of breakthrough years.
“We’ve got the likes of Harri (Keddie) and Leon (Brown) coming through who will get opportunities, it’s up to them to take them but we need to create the environment for them to flourish.
“There is plenty of potential here, and a good mix with experienced professionals like Brok Harris and Rhys Thomas, but we have to turn that into results now.”
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